Five Facts about the Revote

June 22, 2016

FIVE THINGS EVERY VOTER SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE RECENTLY APPROVED HPES BOND

1. If a new election is held, we will not be able to get on the 2017 construction schedule. That means: 
a. We will face at least two more years of unpredictable emergency repairs. 
b. These emergency repairs will need to be put into a higher operational budget and/or paid for with higher interest emergency loans. Either of these options will cause an unpredictable tax spike. These options do not enjoy the tax rate protections that long-term bonded debt enjoys. 
c. We will very likely face a higher interest rate on future borrowing than what we can obtain today. 
d. State safety inspectors, who for several years have held off requiring certain work be done in the school because, and only because, they saw us working toward a renovation project, may decide Hyde Park is not making adequate progress toward meeting life safety codes and force us to begin work within a very short time frame. See above on unpredictable tax spikes.

2. Developing a cost estimate was neither part of the charge of the FEO committee, nor something that the FEO committee was equipped to do. Responsible cost estimating for a project such as this requires engineering and other professional assessments that have only been done since the FEO committee concluded its work.

3. The school cannot be repaired and brought to code for 3-4 million dollars. While this number had been tossed about, it was as much a hope as it was a very 'off the cuff' estimate. Critically, that figure did not include significant work that needs to be done--such as roofing, electrical upgrades, air quality fixes, etc. Nor was it supported by the professional analyses that are required before a bond question can be brought to voters. We cannot fix our school for 3-4 million.

4. Act 46 does not mean HPES is closing. Nor is an expanded middle school going to be built on the LUMS/LUHS campus. Our school will remain open, and our responsibility.

5. Our taxes are actually going to go DOWN as a function of this bond. In passing the bond last month, we took advantage of an unprecedented opportunity. When has any community had the chance to address such serious upgrade needs AND been able to expect a tax decrease as the result? In case you've not yet seen how, the Act 46 merger provides tremendous benefits to all towns who voted in favor. Not only do we realize direct tax reductions just for having voted to merge, we now also share the expense of projects such as this. Here is the bottom line: There is existing bonded debt in our new district for Belvidere, Johnson and Lamoille Union. These debts will soon expire, but because the Hyde Park project is less than the sum of the existing debt, we will see our tax rate decrease. What more could our community ask for?

If you have questions about anything related to this project, please direct them to the board so that we can provide you accurate and complete answers.

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